Fenland Undertaker dies after almost 60 years in the profession

UNDERTAKER Charles Tombleson who died on Saturday aged 90 loved his profession so much that he spent just three years in retirement before going back and working until he was 87.

UNDERTAKER Charles Tombleson who died on Saturday aged 90 loved his profession so much that he spent just three years in retirement before going back and working until he was 87.

His widow Wendy said: “Charles loved meeting people, doing the job properly and to the best of ability, and serving the community.”

Mr Tombleson died at his home in The Causeway, March, after a short illness. He would have celebrated his 91st birthday in October.

Mrs Tombleson described her husband as a remarkable man for the way he rebuilt his life after being a Japanese prisoner of war for three and a half years. Serving with the Royal Norfolk Regiment he was captured at the fall of Singapore in February 1942 and spent the rest of the war in a camp enduring appalling conditions with his fellow prisoners.


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Mr Tombleson was born in Outwell and had a twin brother Bill. As a youth he enjoyed playing football for local teams.

The family moved to Wisbech where Charles and Bill joined their father and another brother in a building business, Bailey and Son. Mr Tombleson returned to Wisbech after the war and the family took over the undertakers side of the business in 1950. Bill died 11 years ago. While in Wisbech Mr Tombleson was a Special Police Constable for around 12 years.

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In 1975 he took over George James and Son Funeral Directors of The Causeway in March and sold the business in 1988 when he decided to retire. However, he missed the business so much that after three years he went back when it was bought by the Co-op. Mrs Tombleson said: “I suppose he was a workaholic and totally dedicated to his trade.”

He married Wendy in 1978 and she also worked in the business carrying out administrative work and driving the limousines.

A keen bowler, Mr Tombleson had bowled at March Conservative Club since 1963 and was president of the Cambridgeshire bowling Association in 1968. He bowled in the elite Middleton Cup and bowled as a Golden Imp with the Imps.

He was a Freemason and was twice Worshipful Master of the 6125 Gild of Holy Trinity in Wisbech and was a joining member of March Stonecross Lodge.

Still taking an avid interest in the undertaking business he was guest at the dedication of a new funeral home in Whittlesey in April.

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